Purple Yam and Goji Berry Pancakes

This Asian recipe uses the beautiful and unusual purple yam. We blend the smooth texture of the yam with sweet rice flour, and accent this with a sweet, nutty filling. IMG_3282The dessert also happens to be wheat-free, dairy-free, and vegan. This purple yam is in the same botanical family (Dioscorea) as the white Asian yam ‘Shan Yao’.

The purple yam is used in Filipino sweet desserts, Vietnamese soups, Indian dishes, and Hawaiian cuisine, as well as Japanese & Chinese recipes.


Ingredients (Makes about 12 pieces to serve 6)


  • 1 medium-size organic purple yam (1 pound), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup sweet rice flour (also known as “sticky rice flour” or “glutinous rice flour”)
  • ½ cup raw unsalted walnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons goji berries
  • 1 tablespoon honey or barley malt
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (such as olive oil or coconut oil)



1) Steam (or boil) the pieces of purple yam for about 15 minutes, until soft.

2) Allow the yam to cool for a few minutes, transfer it into a mixing bowl, and mash it with a fork until smooth. Gradually add the sweet rice flour to the yam, kneading the mixture together with your hands to form a smooth dough. (If the dough starts to get too crumbly, stop adding the rice flour; if you have already overdone it, you can compensate by adding a little water.)

3) Mix together the chopped walnuts, goji berries, and honey (warm the honey first if it is too solid to mix easily).

4) Make a “cup” out of a piece of dough, fill it with the stuffing, and close the dough around it to make a ball. Flatten the ball with the palms of your hands to form it into a 3-inch round pancake shape. (Or improvise your own method for surrounding the filling with dough.) Repeat until the dough and the filling is used up.

5) Heat a skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the oil, then cook the pieces until both sides are brown and the center is warm, 5 to 10 minutes. Cook in batches if necessary. Serve warm.


Recipe Themes and Variations:


Any dried fruit can be substituted for the goji berries. Dried apples, for example, are lovely. Also, other seeds or nuts—such as pumpkin seeds, chopped almonds, black sesame seeds, pine nuts, or chopped peanuts—offer other possibilities instead of walnuts.


Thank you, Audrey for this creative recipe!


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    Comment by thiet ke noi that — April 6, 2016 @ 2:05 am

  3. This was so good. I’m definitely going to make this in the future.

    “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”

    Comment by Ethan Ramirez — April 11, 2017 @ 9:31 pm

  4. Fast easy recipe, and such a beautiful color; if you make these smaller, they look wonderful served with green tea sugar cookies!

    Comment by Cali James — April 12, 2017 @ 6:37 pm

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